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New law reinstates non-economic damage caps in medical malpractice

Nearly three years after they were thrown out by the State Supreme Court, Missouri doctors are once again protected from egregious malpractice awards by caps on “noneconomic damages.”

Governor Nixon this week signed Senate Bill 239 into law. It will limit non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The new law limits awards for pain and suffering in most personal injury cases arising from medical procedures to $400,000.

In catastrophic injuries, the limit would be $700,000. The measure also would raise the existing cap on wrongful death cases from $350,000 to $700,000.

Associated Industries of Missouri supported restoring these caps. Without caps, doctors could have left the state due to higher medical malpractice insurance costs.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Dan Brown (R-Rolla) in the State Senate and handled in the House by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Springfield).

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